Tennis: Chang loses the drift and his title

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WITH Florida in the continuing calm after the storm, a reasonable wind wafted through the Lipton Championships here yesterday but blew Michael Chang no good whatsoever. The defending champion lost the men's singles title in his opening match against Marcos Ondruska, one of a rising generation of South African players.

Nor was Jennifer Capriati at ease in the cold of the evening. The 16-year-old fourth seed was defeated in the second round by Judith Wiesner, of Austria, 2-6, 7-6, 6-4. Capriati, who dropped only one game in her opening match against the Argentinian Ines Gorrochategui, was unable to capitalise on a competent first set against Wiesner, the world No 25.

Ondruska, aged 20 and with a world ranking of No 48 after finishing runner-up to Andre Agassi, the Wimbledon champion, in Arizona three weeks ago, defeated the seventh-seeded Chang, 7-5, 6-1. It was here a year ago that the diminutive Chang eliminated Jim Courier, the world No 1, en route to winning the championship.

Though Ondruska has only recently emerged as a contender, breaking into the top 100 last autumn, he served notice of his potential at Wimbledon in 1990 as a finalist in the junior singles and doubles. His parents were born in Bratislava, moving first to Vienna and then to Bloemfontein. He is now based in Munich.

Chang attributed his defeat to being 'too impatient'. Ondruska said he had set out to do his own thing: 'I stayed back and just wore him down a little bit.'

Courier, the top seed, opened in confident style, striking the ball beautifully in defeating Byron Black, from Zimbabwe, 6-2, 6-2. Stefan Edberg, the third seed, also began impressively, defeating the Mexican Leonardo Lavalle, 6-4, 6-3, and Agassi saved two set points in the opening set to dominate his rehabilitating American compatriot, Aaron Krickstein, 7-5, 6-0.

Jo Durie featured in the third round of the women's singles. Durie, Britain's sole competitor, gave it all we'd got. It was not enough to defeat Zina Garrison Jackson, who won, 6-1, 3-6, 6-0.

Garrison Jackson was the runner-up at Wimbledon in 1990, on the occasion of Martina Navratilova's record ninth triumph, having won a splendid quarter-final against Monica Seles. The Texan also made a memorable appearance in London in 1988, captaining the Americans to a whitewashing of the Brits in the Wightman Cup at the Royal Albert Hall.

On that occasion, the Queen made a rare visit to a tennis event and, while watching Garrison Jackson play Durie, Her Majesty may have been struck by a development in the women's game. Garrison Jackson had introduced a tap dance for receiving serve, and some loose boards beneath the court gave her rhythm the impact of the chorus line in 42nd Street.

The Garrison Jackson shuffle was soon replaced by another phenomenon - the Seles grunt. In her absence, indisposed, the world No 1 was not short of enthusiastic imitators yesterday. The opening set of the Garrison Jackson-Durie encounter was punctuated by farmyard noises from an adjacent court, on which Anke Huber was struggling to keep pace with her Dutch opponent, Miriam Oremans.

Soon Oremans was grunting as hard as the German. Whether this made a difference to the outcome was hard to discern; anyway, Oremans won, 5-7, 7-5, 6-2. Garrison Jackson and Durie were probably glad to be rid of them.

Durie raised her game, recovering from a set and a break down to force a deciding set. That was all the forcing she had left. Though the games continued to be close, Garrison Jackson was back in the groove of the first set.

After she had led the Americans to their customary 7-0 win in the now defunct Wightman Cup, Garrison Jackson gave the downcast British team a little pep talk, the gist of which was, 'Keep your heads up, you guys]' Durie continues to do her best.

Results, Sport in Short, page 31